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Frontrunners for Obama DOJ Positions:
Sources speaking to the BLT are indicating that the following individuals are currently frontrunners for top posts in the Obama Justice Department: Lanny Breuer is likely to be picked as the head of DOJ's Criminal Division; D. Anthony West is likely to be picked as the head of DOJ's Civil Division; Mark Gitenstein is the likely head of the Office of Legal Policy; and Neal Katyal is likely to be picked as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General.
Carolina:
I don't know the others, but Lanny Breuer is an absolutely top-notch lawyer. Someone is giving Obama very good advice on these picks.
1.15.2009 1:11am
Joe Kowalski (mail):
If I remember correctly Katyal was the lead council for Hamdan and argued for Hamdan before the Supreme court. There was a subsequent appearance on Colbert which he pulled off quite well.
1.15.2009 1:21am
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
I wish Breuer well - hopefully he internalized enough of the prosecutorial ethic during his 4 years at the Manhattan DA's office to successfully lead the Criminal Division. Katyal should be quite competent as PDSG. Given yesterday's report, I'm really curious to see who gets Civil Rights.
1.15.2009 2:23am
Jay:
I'm curious--does anyone have insight on how exactly the process of choosing the dozens of new US Attorneys works? Presumably in major jurisdictions, like SDNY or DDC, there are DOJ/administration higher-ups who have some idea of the likely candidates, but how does someone get nominated as USA for WD Ark or ND Miss? Is it largely, as with district judges, via Senatorial connections?
1.15.2009 3:40am
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
Jay,

You are correct; by and large, the senior Senator of the president's party has the biggest say in who becomes the US Attorney(s) in his state. There may be some spots - like the SDNY - where that is not necessarily true because of the importance of the cases that are brought there, but for the most part, historically, presidents have deferred to senators on this.
1.15.2009 8:36am
Al Maviva:
If there was any justice in the world Katyal would get CIA General Counsel,or Chief, National Security Division at DOJ. Something about lying in a bed of one's own making comes to mind.
1.15.2009 9:27am
Terrivus:
Lanny Breuer is an absolutely top-notch lawyer.

Yes, his representation of Roger Clemens during his congressional testimony was a thing of beauty... Oh wait, it ended up being a public relations disaster and a grand jury has now convened to determine whether Clemens lied under oath.

That doesn't sound very "top-notch" to me at all. In fact, it sounds like quite the opposite.
1.15.2009 9:43am
RaleighEsq (mail):
I wonder if Obama would agree with Katyal that the President, in effect, has no "private" life -- See generally Neal Katyal, The Public and Private Lives of Presidents, 8 Wm. &Mary Bill Rts. J. 677 (2000)
1.15.2009 9:59am
AntonK (mail):

"Someone is giving Obama very good advice..."
Really? Holder is looking more and more like a no-go with every passing hour!
1.15.2009 10:00am
Sarcastro (www):
AntonK is right. Orrin Hatch's support is like the kiss of death.
1.15.2009 10:09am
martinned (mail) (www):
Strange... Why are positions like this held by political appointiees, instead of career DoJ staffers?
1.15.2009 10:57am
Wahoowa:

Strange... Why are positions like this held by political appointiees, instead of career DoJ staffers?


Because we assume that in electing someone to be the executive of our nation, the supervisory roles of the executive branch should be filled with those he can trust and direct, and not an unaccountable bureaucrat who's risen through the ranks simply by not pissing anyone off.
1.15.2009 11:31am
martinned (mail) (www):

Because we assume that in electing someone to be the executive of our nation, the supervisory roles of the executive branch should be filled with those he can trust and direct, and not an unaccountable bureaucrat who's risen through the ranks simply by not pissing anyone off.

@Wahoowa: Exactly, by civil servants instead of political hacks. I'd think the many problems in the DoJ in recent years would have cured most people from the idea that what the country needs is more political appointees.
1.15.2009 3:51pm
jackson:
Prosecutorial Indiscretion -

BLT lists Tom Saenz in Civil Rights

• Thomas Saenz, counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is the leading candidate to head the Civil Rights Division, the sources say. Before joining Villaraigosa's administration, Saenz (Yale Law) was a top lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he handled cases over affirmative action, educational equity, employment discrimination, immigrants' rights, language rights, and day laborers' rights. (Click here for a brief bio from the Equal Justice Society.)
1.15.2009 4:58pm

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